Pablo: Thanks and goodbye

PABLO Counago has told how he is hoping to get his career back on track after being frozen out of his beloved Ipswich Town by manager Roy Keane.

The Spanish striker last night signed on loan for Crystal Palace for the rest of the season, ending a nightmarish few months during which he had been relegated to training with youth-teamers.

Counago, 31, who has scored 62 goals for Ipswich in two spells with the club, said he was sad to leave Portman Road but needed to “feel like a footballer again”.

“It has been a hard few months for me,” said the former under-21 international. “I’m really happy to be able to put a finish to it and start again.”

Counago was told he would never play for Ipswich again following a dressing-room row with Keane after a pre-season reserve friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, in which he was used as a substitute.

“I’m not a trouble-maker,” he said. “I just don’t agree with the way the manager treats the players or the staff.

“I do understand if a manager says to a player ‘I don’t want you to play’. But it’s another thing to question passion or commitment. I have always been passionate and committed to this club 100%.

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“He said (to the Press) he could only see what was happening in training. But I was training with the reserves and the youths, so how could he see that?”

The striker, who will not be able to play for Palace against Town today under the terms of his loan deal, said he would always cherish his memories of Ipswich.

“I would like to say a big thanks to the fans and everyone at the club for the support they have always showed me, even through the hard times. I have a lot of good memories. It has been a great experience for me and I will always remember it. This club has been a big part of my life.

“When you come to a new country you try to do things right and learn the language, and when you listen to people shouting and singing your name it is something amazing. It’s something I don’t imagine would happen in any other country. I’m really happy about that.”

Counago will link up with former Blues boss George Burley, who first brought him to English football in 2001, and ex-Town stars Owen Garvan, David Wright, Alan Lee and Darren Ambrose at Selhurst Park.

“It’s good when you find a club with a manager you like and with lots of good players. It will be nice to feel like a footballer again and enjoy playing games.

“It’s a good move for me, and I just want to get going and try to forget the last few months with the manager.”

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